Cardiac Anomalies - is something going on or is this normal?

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I used to race at a high level back in the early 90's. I was pretty much useless when it came to reading a race, but I trained more than pretty much everyone else and could drop top ranked riders in training rides of 150 km's and more. Fast forward to a couple years ago when I went to see a heart specialist because pretty much everyone of any age was passing me while on a ride to the friggin corner shop. Turns out I was gasping for breath because my heart rate exceeded 300 beats per minute. I would literally faint when taking my dogs for a walk. After seeing three specialists over the course of a year, I was told my condition was a result of excessive training when riding. I am now well past the age of racing bikes, but I am told that the combination of riding in previous years and current alcohol use is the cause of my condition. Drinking has replaced riding, but I always use the training thing as an excuse for the reason I can no longer exercise and do strenuous activities. p.s. The last part was an attempt at a joke.
 
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Aug 13, 2016
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Goeleven, Goolaerts, Myngheer, De Greef, Vanacker, Verdick, Nolf, Duquennoy, De Vriendt. Seems like Belgian/Dutch riders/teams are way overrepresented in cardiac-related fatalities of youngish riders in these last few years - they're pretty much all of them. Is it because we're not hearing about young Spaniard/Italian/French/American/Eastern European/Colombian/etc riders deaths at this conti/proconti/amateur level? Is there a difference in pre sport check ups and screening? Is it randomness?


FWIW, I remember reading the authopsy showed Larsen's cause of death wasn't cardiac.
 
Difficult to say what is going on in Belgium & Netherlands with the death of young riders. Is it simply they get reported and there is half a dozen young cyclists deaths each decade in all countries too, but we don't hear about them in cycling press perhaps? Can't believe with social media today, this wouldn't hit most cycling press in each country. UK figures in young people (14-35) shows 12 deaths per week from undiagnosed heart conditions. Niels De Vriendt I read, was said to have had a cardiac screening 2 weeks ago, but what tests I don't know. There are generic tests like ECG & Echo, then there are more involved exercise-based ECG & Echo that can find conditions not found in more basic tests and several more specific tests too.
 
Here's one we haven't seen before (I think): Serge Pauwels (36, CCC) retires having been sidelined with myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscles). He's not strictly retired because of the myocarditis - you tend to recover from that - and his age and the lack of a future for CCC are the real issues here. That said, myocarditis is something we can probably expect to see more of in the months to come, it having become something of a talking point in American college sport as a consequence of Covid:
Daniels said that cardiac M.R.I.s, an expensive and sparingly used tool, revealed an alarmingly high rate of myocarditis — heart inflammation that can lead to cardiac arrest with exertion — among college athletes who had recovered from the coronavirus.

The survey found myocarditis in close to 15 percent of athletes who had the virus, almost all of whom experienced mild or no symptoms, Daniels added, perhaps shedding more light on the uncertainties about the short- and long-term effects the virus may have on athletes.
In Pauwels case, there is apparently no linkage with Covid and his myocarditis had other causes.

(Caveat: there is, as is to be expected, some dispute over whether there is a link between Covid and myocarditis in the first place, and the severity of such a link in the second. Cynically, however, college sport needs to take any link seriously, even if only for the sake of the no claims bonus on their insurance policies.)
 
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